Sunday, August 22, 2010

weekEnd Review

Oh!  I have been SO bad about blogging this summer.  Our schedule changed and my business got busy and I got out of a habit barely formed anyway!

One of the things we enjoyed most this summer was the membership my parents bought us for our public pool.  They had a lap swim in the early evening followed by a family swim session.  Jeff especially enjoyed the lap swim time.  The boys often joined him for the family swim and they had a great time playing with water bomb (balls made especially for throwing in the pool) and tubes.  Who knew they doubled as light sabers?  Boys.  Nate & Alex really enjoyed cooling down after their long days in the field pollinating corn in July.

The boys also enjoyed their well-deserved earnings.  They both got up early and worked long, hot days in the fields.  They worked hard and did good jobs.  I'm so proud of them both.  Nate is pretty sure he'll return to Pioneer for a third year next summer.  Alex isn't so sure though he's pretty happy with his new laptop computer!  :-)

Speaking of hard work - Jamie probably wins this summer's award.  We have heard nothing but good things about her work at Pine Haven.  She spent part of her time working with the outside crew and part of her time in the kitchen with her cousins, Anna & Mary.  Anna was head cook for the camp this summer and did an outstanding job.  We heard more than once that campers, faculty and staff enjoyed the best camp food ever!  

Jamie worked pretty much all day, every day - off each week Saturday afternoons until they got ready for the new campers each Sunday afternoon.  She came home in really good shape - lots of awesome muscles!  Jeff & Ashlee brought her home last Tuesday evening and we ran like crazy until we left Thursday afternoon to take her down to Northwestern College (St Paul).  We moved her into the dorm Friday morning.  The college had some special orientation for both students & parents Friday & Saturday. 

We went to a family BBQ at the school Friday evening - then the boys went to Connie & Brian's to visit with their cousins Friday night & Saturday.  Jeff & Ashlee visited the Mall of America before he took her to airport Saturday afternoon.  We did some serious Target shopping for Jamie and picked up the boys for a relaxing evening back at the hotel.  We all went to church together on campus this morning, had brunch in the cafeteria and said goodbye to Jamie.  She's going to have such an awesome year!

We had a really wonderful visit with Ashlee these last couple weeks.  Swimming and movies and shopping and even a Mary Kay Spa Night.  We mostly just enjoyed being together.  Ashlee got to spend some time with her sister, Marissa, and other friends in town.  And finally Jamie for a few days.  It was so fun to have both girls for a shopping day for school clothes for Jamie - Ashlee was in charge of cute tops & I was in charge of jeans - Ashlee came out the definite winner for the day!  Having Ashlee, Jeff and the boys made quick work of moving Jamie into the dorm.

Kathryn is still working away at fitness center and bowling alley.  She has an adventurous one-legged cat.  I believe her roommate has brought home another cat as a friend.  Kathryn plays guitar beautifully - she just keeps continuing to learn and has friends who enjoy music.  Her little red car is back up and running and carrying her around town.

Jeff starts school tomorrow at MSUM.  He's taking Multicultural America, Calculus I, Computer Calculus, and Educational Psychology.  He got a new wallet for back-to-school and set off store alarms all week until we finally found the little electronic anti-theft tag hidden inside!  I thought I was going to have to pretend to not know him everywhere we go...  His backpack is packed and he's pretty excited to start his new adventure towards being a teacher.

The boys have two more whole weeks of summer!  They and Jamie are going to Last Chance Camp at Pine Haven over Labor Day weekend - Nate & Alex as campers (Alex's first time!) and Jamie as staff.  Jeff & I are excited to be planning a trip to Alabama over Labor Day weekend to visit his parents and sisters and families.  Then it's back for the boys' first day of school the Tuesday after Labor Day.  

We have really enjoyed our summer and we're not quite ready to let it go yet even as we're looking ahead to fall and cooler weather.




Jamie Miller
3003 Snelling Ave. N.
MC #159
St Paul, MN  55113-1598

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Delicious Fruit & Vegetable Dip

a delicious treat from my friend, Janelle (Louisville, KY):

1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 T honey

That's it.  Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.  

(Tip:  If you lightly spray measuring cups/spoons with nonstick cooking spray before you put peanut butter or honey in them, they come out a lot easier.)

You could double this recipe for a crowd or cut it in half for a smaller amount (though I'm personally not sure why you would want to!)

Wonderful on apple slices, celery sticks, pretzel sticks, fingers & I'm sure there's more.  Much, much more!  

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

wordless wednesday: july backyard

I was sitting in the swing outside the back door, bare feet in the sun, relaxing and enjoying a good book when I noticed the enormous weed in the fire ring.  First, I considered how long it's been since we've had a fire and how many we planned to have this summer and that it is July already.  Secondly, I mused about how darn Big that thistle is and how hard it will be to pull and how easy it would have been if I pulled it when a baby.  Nextly, I noticed the other weeds, saplings, overgrown grape vines, sad looking rhubarb (no cobbler this year!), unweeded flower beds, wholes in the lawn, pine boughs dragging too low and general yard care I have neglected most of the summer.  *Sigh...*

I reached for my camera - to chronicle my laziness? my lack of respect for the yard?  

Through the lens I saw first the thistledown.  And the sunshine through the grape and poplar leaves, the wind helping them flutter to gain my attention.  The little green apples are just starting to show red where the sunbeams kiss the tops of their heads. 

I smiled, rearranged my pillows and turned my attention back to my book.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fabulous Fourth

For the 1st time in a long time, I didn't take a single picture on the 4th.  Not a one.  And didn't make many plans.  Didn't carry many out either.  Didn't even insist on reading the Declaration of Independence or making my kids do it.  ~Ha!  That's funny.  Get it?~  

I just realized I didn't even break out our copy of the Declaration (wonder where it is...  one advantage of an annual national holiday is that I find it at least once a year!)  We did read about Jefferson's early draft that used the word "subjects".  Not a big shocker, but still interesting.  And we read about celebrations throughout the country.  We did this, Jamie, Nate, Alex and I, while the boys were making supper together.  Southwestern Soup.  A menu item we'd put off for several days in a row due to life.  The boys really did an excellent job.  They are scheduled to cook a meal once (or perhaps twice, or even more!) each week this summer.  They did a great job and the meal was delicious.

The boys making supper was yesterday - the day after the 4th - the day we didn't realize would really be another holiday for most people.  But not Jeff - he went off to work just like clockwork.  However, the phones were slow enough in the afternoon for him to come home early and paint some more in my new office-in-progress, do some other stuff, help the boys get supper on the table and join the plan to take Jamie to see "How to Train Your Dragon" at the Safari Theater!  Fun movie!

On the 4th.  Jeff had breakfast with Marissa and delivered her to the airport to take off for a visit to Texas.  We had some lunch (can't remember what it was right now) and took off to camp to get Jamie.  She had 5th & 6th graders last week.  Their camp ended Friday morning then the women arrived for Ladies' Retreat which continued through Sunday noon!  They finished cleaning up camp by about 3 and she loaded up to head home for a break.  Turns out to be about four days.  She has to be back on campus by about 11:30 Friday.  

We got home, unloaded Jamie and Jeff made some delicious burgers for supper.  Jamie is staying (with her much stuff) in Alex's room.  Alex is staying with Nate in the basement.  We're finishing up the painting in Jamie's room to make it my new Mary Kay office - a couple of lovely pinks!  We decided to paint the closet so what remained of Jamie's stuff is in the living room.  whee!!

The boys went shopping Saturday (and stayed within the budget) for explosives which we - and the neighbors - enjoyed Sunday evening!  We had been pretty noisy for about 20 minutes before our across-the-street neighbors came out to join us. Kathryn came over for awhile, too and we decided to invite everyone back for next year - with perhaps a little more planning for a dessert & iced tea to share!  This was Alex's first year to light his own fireworks.  I didn't find out until it was all over that he got a couple pretty burned thumbs - nothing serious that a little practice won't cure.  ;-7    Our "hens" were duds this year, but the crazy hedgehogs never fail to amuse and the night parachuters were pretty cool.  Nate got a REALLY good tank that shot it's own separate little show in the driveway.  My favorite for a second year in a row was the Memory Lantern.  Love it.  A beautiful, quiet, thoughtful conclusion to our personal pyrotechnics.  

It sounded like MSUM was doing it's usual fantastic display, but we had had enough fun of our own and sat it out this year.  The kids said something to the effect of skipping the "sing along" this year.  A Front Fenders (great local cover band!) concert in the grandstand.  Jeff does tend to "sing along."  A little.  Ok, that's exactly what they said.  And he does.  ALOT.  ;-D   At least we've got plans.

shoot!  maybe we'll just be in California with Julie and the kids!  

Friday, July 2, 2010


We've been out to the camp every weekend since Jamie left to go to work at Pine Haven right after graduation the first weekend of June!  Kathryn took her out.  Then we took Nate out for camp. Then we all went out for an overnight to pick up Nate and drop off Alex.  Then Jeff went out to get Alex.  We'll go out Sunday to bring Jamie home for a week (YAY!) and back out next weekend to take her back!!  Wow.  Who made that plan??  After next weekend we'll likely have a fairly long stretch - with maybe a visit or two - until she comes home in August to get ready to leave for school.

Jamie has been working so hard.  Her days start about 6 am in the kitchen helping prepare breakfast and end about 11 after the campfire.  In between she's doing all sorts of things inside and out including cooking, cleaning, canteen and camper hunting.  I'll try to put her in front of the computer for a few minutes next week for a blog entry!

Alex seemed to enjoy his week at camp last week (9th & 10th graders).  They had about 60 campers - a much more laid back week than the 160+ at senior high school week.  He only forgot sleep pants and a towel.  It could have been worse.  Nate was last week's only child - he got along pretty well, but I think it's a good thing he's not last-born.  He misses his siblings.  

Kathryn is enjoying her job at the fitness center - and is picking up some weekend shifts back over at the bowling alley snack bar.  She prefers the smaller, more laid-back staffs.  She was in the small choir for the combined Salem-Bethel worship services at Salem last weekend.  She looked great and the service was really good.  The worship leaders and choir all sounded excellent.  We had lunch together at Taco John's (Nate's most favorite!) after 2nd service and enjoyed the visit.  When will I get used to having grown up children?  

I'm looking for a good flight for Ashlee's visit in August - she's getting in right between my Mary Kay trip to Dallas and Jamie's departure for school in St Paul.

Our family has started planning for an all-family trip somewhere for my mom and dad's 50th wedding anniversary in 2011.  We've narrowed it down to summer.  And somewhere we can all enjoy together - from my retired, but active parents, 4 40-something-ish adults (yes, Matt, I know you're still a baby and not quite 40 - thus, the -ish!), 2 college-aged girls, 2 high school boys and let's see... an 8 year old girl and 6- and 4 year old boys!  woohoo!!!   The suggestion box is now open.

This week's favorites:

  • iTunes podcasts - ridiculous how much I love having my favorite programs just show up in iTunes!  wonderful technology
  • Grocery Gadgets - this little gadget for iPod with web interface promises to be my new favorite little tech tool - AWESOME grocery (and any other) shopping lists with potential to set up aisle by aisle shopping which (you have NO idea!) could be perfect for me
  • Project Free TV - have I mentioned this one before?  If it's free, it's for me and if I'm going to watch TV, I like to do it on my schedule.  Our current guilty pleasure:  The Big Bang Theory (we're on whatever is the current season, but rent it from the beginning).  
  • Franklin Planner - I'm an office supplies junkie.  And the planner/organizer has to be one of my most favorite things.  I went Crazy this year and ordered BOTH refill AND new binder.  I know.  Insanity.  And I almost lost it when the box came in the mail this week!  squeeee!!
  • I'm reading (and enjoying) The Bookseller of Kabul (Asne Seierstad), trying to read For Richer, Not Poorer (sigh!) by Ruth l Hayden, and loving Good Poems (selected & introduced by Garrison Keillor)

Please share your favorites!  Have a great week,


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

wordless wednesday: queen of the canteen

Jamie on the other side of the canteen window at Pine Haven.  
She just looks like she belongs there!  
PHCA, June 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Poached Egg - Daily Quote

(I'm just wondering how this reblogging tool works.)

This John Newton quote is one of my most favorites ever:

The Poached Egg - Daily Quote

Friday, June 25, 2010

Three Beautiful Things

1.  Choice:  I had one of those tough working-for-yourself-at-home days yesterday.  Wondering what I'm doing and if I'm half out of my mind.  Mostly I just needed to get down to taking care of some of the not-as-fun, self-discipline, work-your-plan stuff.  In the midst, I looked around and realized that I was sitting in my big bedroom/temporary office with not one, for FOUR windows letting sunshine and beauty stream in.  My son was wandering in and out updating me on world cup soccer and the general state of the world.  And I realized that in the midst of life change for my family that could have been - and is for many people - financially devastating, I can choose to take a chance on me.  I have my own business, I'm the boss and I have a fun, positive, experienced and successful group of women to work with.  Wow!  I love that.

2.  Technology. What a curse, but what a blessing.  I have some connection with friends and across the miles and across the years that I wouldn't have without email and facebook and cell phones and texting.  I can work at home with ease (see above).  I have access to weather radar to see where the storm is that woke me up early this morning - and can check on the weather at camp where Jamie is getting up to make breakfast for the 9th & 10th graders, and where mom and dad are starting their day, and where Julie and the kids are (hopefully!) still sleeping soundly.  Yesterday I took my morning walk and listened to one of my favorite radio programs that I almost never get to hear - it just magically put itself on my iPod and was there ready to bless my morning!  (oh, and The Writer's Almanac - that was magically there, too!!)

3.  My new purse.  I have this thing about purses.  It's more of a quest really.  An epic search for the perfect purse.  I have really restrained myself in recent years.  (I have.  You have no idea.)  I don't know if this is really it. But it is a beauty.  (And probably the cheapest, simplest purse I've bought in....ever.)   I bought it at Beagle Books in Park Rapids, a bookstore of my favorite kind.  I also bought a copy of The Princess and the Goblin (George MacDonald), which I just discovered you can read online for FREE here at Google Books.  And it's really a lovely copy.  But I digress.  The purse:  Beagle Books bought it directly from a Vietnamese women's co-op which she has visited.  That's just cool.  I wanted to pay more for the purse!  I did.  

What beautiful in your life?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

on the menu

Isn't it amazing how the seasons - of weather & of life - break our routines, no matter how small and cause us to regroup, re-evaluate and reorder our little worlds?  I used to (and still too often) rant and rail about little chaos-es these seasons bring with them.  How I feel so out of sorts, so at odds and ends, just trying to find my way through the week in the midst of all the wreckage of my routine.  (Oh, the little dramas we create for ourselves!  At least I do.)

I'm learning to accept these seasons more graciously.  Please don't ask any of my children for a report on that, they don't have the proper perspective to evaluate fairly.  Surely there is no truly perfect routine, no truly exceptional method for remembering all the dates and times and appointments and bill due dates and to which teeth the boy's rubber bands are supposed to be connected and re-connected after brushing after each and every meal and snack.  Living and loving today cannot be diminished by the presence of winter coats in my front hall closet in June.  If I don't allow it.  The tree-lings that have taken over the beds along the side of the house that I never see have nothing real to say to me about my worth and a keeper of the home.  Really.  Or at least I'm not listening.  (Sorry, Mary - my dear neighbor.)  

I'm trying so hard (or maybe less hard) to live in the present.  To let the past go and the future come and just Live right now.  

At least until my planner refill calendars arrive in the next 7 - 14 days and then I'll really get organized.  :-)

Ah, yes.  I do have a menu for the week - really the next 10 days to 2 weeks!  yippee.

Marinated Steak Tips w garlic mashed potatoes and peas
Asian Pork and Noodles with cantaloupe slices
Salsa Rosa Burgers with roasted potatoes
Apricot Chicken with steamed rice and broccoli
Santa Fe Soup with cornbread
Crockpot:  chuck Roast with veggies 
Hot Dog Wraps with strawberries and chips  (yes!  hotdogs in crescent rolls!)
I just noticed there is no fish so I'll rely on Jeff for a fish - probably salmon!

Good Eatin'!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

wordless wednesday: little cabin

I miss this cute little cabin at Riverside Point Resort in Park Rapids.  We got away Saturday to spend the night between picking Nate up from camp Saturday morning and dropping Alex off Sunday afternoon.  We enjoyed paddleboat rides around Fishhook Lake and sitting in the swing just doing nothing but being together.  The resort allows pets so Mia was able to join us. Jamie even got an overnight pass to stay with us and make a trip to The Evil Walmart.  We went to church together at a new church near the camp:  Lakeside Christian Church.  What a treat to spend some time all together!  

[So much for "wordless!"]

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer Sizzle or Drizzle? The Trilogy Begins: June Movie Lineup

The heat is on as the first REAL Summer Blockbuster Month begins


Knight and Day - Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz are teamed together in this Action flick with some romance and supposed humor thrown. Tom rocks the action movies and Cameron can actually bring it too so this has the potential to be good, but do they have any on screen chemistry? It's questionable since they starred together in Vanilla Sky (2001) which didn't do very well at the box office. (For the record I didn't see Vanilla Sky so can't comment on the Cruise/ Diaz Chemistry Connection . . . yet).

The A-Team - When I first heard Hollywood was doing a movie version of this somewhat cheesy but entertaining 80's TV show I groaned, "Not another one." But after seeing trailers and the cast list I'm actually wanting to see this movie. I'm a big Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper fan and this has the potential of being a fun, roller coaster ride of an action flick. I don't expect a great plot, but if the action sequences are well done and adrenalin filled then COOL!

Killers - Buffed up Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl take on the action/ romantic comedy a la Knight and Day but unlike Cruze and Diaz Ashton and Katherine CAN do comedy so the humor could be better in this "retired secret government assassin marries an unwitting woman and his past comes back to try and bite him in the butt" movie. High jinks ensue but unless the dialogue is snappy and the action sequences well done then Killers could end up being terminated with prejudice.

The Karate Kid - When I first heard they did a remake of The Karate Kid I yelled, "NOOOOOO!" But after reading about it and seeing the trailers I realized this is The Karate Kid in name only. It's not even Japanese karate but Kung Fu. Hmm. Ok, well, this could still be a good movie but early reviews haven't been too favorable. Jaden Smith does an ok job but the story is a bit lacking and the magic of Miyagi/ Danielsan relationship is lacking.


Get Him to the Greek - Both of the stars were in Forgetting Sarah Marshall with Russell Brand reprising his character of English rock star, Aldous Snow. The write ups and reviews say this film is a wild and raunchy romp. Hmm. Well, may see it on DVD

Grown Ups - On the surface this seems like it might be funny but it also seems like they decided to throw a bunch of well known funny men up against a wall and see what sticks. Ensemble casts can be tricky and in the past ensemble comedian casts have been very hit or miss.


Marmaduke - CGI talking Great Dane. Sigh. I'm sure the kiddies would love this one. Not being a fan of the comic I think I'll pass.

Toy Story 3 - Back when my daughters were young I loved going to Toy Story and Toy Story 2 to see Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang. I do hope this is a good Pixar addition to the Story franchise and will probably see it on DVD for old times sake. (Hey, I'm a kid at heart).


Jonah Hex - This film is based on a comic book and since I've NEVER heard of it I'm feeling little interest in seeing it. This Weird Western style thriller is too niche oriented to be well seen mainstream so don't feel bad if you miss this one in the theaters.

Splice - True sci fi but heard this one is a disappointment. But then, I don't agree with most news critics so . . . Anyway, I like the premise (21st Century Frankenstein) and the trailer looked creepy and intriguing and I love me some decent science fiction every now and then.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse - The Squee Crowd will be pleased that the third in the series is being released so timely. Bella, Edward, and Jacob return along with the love triangle, blood suckers, and furry friends galore. Get ready to get your vamp on . . . or wolf if your a Team Jacob fan. Squeeeeeeeee!

Enjoy the first month of true Summer releases and don't forget the popcorn people.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

wordless wednesday: nate vs the funnel cake

Nate VS The Funnel Cake
at RibFest 2010
(not quite sure who won!)

Favorite New Recipe

We made some yummy stuff last week while my parents were here - and of course, for Jamie's Open House and Special Dinner.  One of our new favorites (unanimously approved!) is Greek Burgers.  

Can't wait to make them again!

1 pkg hamburger buns
1 - 2 pounds ground turkey

For each pound of ground turkey add:
1/2 c mayo
2 ts curry powder
2 oz crumbled feta
1/4 ts salt

1 - 1 1/2 cups spinach leaves
small red onion, sliced thin
remaining feta cheese crumbles

Heat broiler.  Stir together mayo and curry; set aside.
Combine turkey, 2 T mayo/curry mixture, feta cheese and salt.  Shape into 1/2 inch thick patties (4 per pound).  Broil 4 inches from broiler, 11 - 13 minutes total; turning once.  

Spread remaining mayo/curry mixture on buns, layer patties, onion, spinach and feta to serve!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

All is Not LOST

Having been a "Lostie" for years, I was both a bit sad to see the end of one of television's most innovative shows in a long time and a bit relieved to finally get some answers to all the bizarreness of the island and the Lostaways over the past six years.

The two and a half hour LOST retrospective and series finale did answer some questions about the whole LOST legacy but as usual left many questions unanswered.  Part Twilight Zone part X-Files and a splash of Outer Limits made this show a great watch with such a great combination of mystery storyline coupled with great characterization.  Seriously, without the characters being just SO good throughout this show would have died seasons ago.

I don't think I or anyone will ever fully understand the plane crash, the ISLAND, the Others, or the Dharma Initiative, but it was a blast tuning in episode after episode to peel back another layer of intrigue and to see Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Locke, Ben and the other Lostaways maneuver there way through the mysteries of flashbacks, flashforwards, and even flashsideways for the past six years.  Though the end did get a bit schmaltzy at times, overall I thought the series did a great job of communicating positive aspects of community and redemption while sprinkling some Lord of the Flies just to add some spice from time to time.  It was an intelligent series in a medium that tends to dumb down programming and though networks are striving to create a LOST replacement it may be awhile.   After all, its hard to grab hold of the energy and power of "Black Smoke."

Spoiler Alert for those that may have not seen the series and plan to on DVD one day:  

I'm still not sure if the ending was supposed to really be the whole "time to enter the light" sequence and that they were really dead this WHOLE time?  The fading to black on Jack's eye as the whole series opened is highly suspicious that perhaps this was a whole St. Elsewhere scenario set-up which is slightly better than if it had been a Dallas, Pam Ewing dream sequence.  Still, the finale makes one believe that the passengers of fated Flight 815 did indeed die but the question is WHEN did they die (Time and Space) and was the WHOLE series a final last gasp firing of Jack's synapses before his lights went out???  Were the writers really that cruel?  Or were they just keeping us guessing until the very end?  (Cue the Twilight Zone theme music)   Picture a man on Oceanic Flight 815 bound for Los Angeles . . . 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

weekEnd: end of May

It's been a couple weeks since my last blog...  and I was doing so well, too!  Our weather has had it's ups and downs the last week.  Hot & humid days in the extreme with temps over 90.  Then a cool down last night - today's high more than 20 degrees cooler than yesterdays!  MUCH more comfortable with drier air and temps in the 70s.  Sunshine and lovely.

Planted some annuals last week which suffered from lack of careful watering.  Always so sad.  And so predictable.  Sigh.  The weeds in my back gravel patio type area are so hard to kill!

Lots of lasts happening around here!  Jamie had her last All-City Orchestra Concert last week - she officially wore her Moorhead Orchestra hockey jersey for the last time with the other seniors.  Although the orchestra program reached another high participation mark with 744 students, there looked like a lot of seniors at the high school this year - they will be missed!  

Jamie also had her last Wonderful Wednesday youth group meeting - she was honored, gifted with a beautiful study Bible and prayed over.  The end of the school year is in sight as she cleaned out her locker for the last time Friday and received her $10 deposit back!  She has all her beautiful artwork at home now - which we will proudly display at her Open House next Saturday.  

She & I visited Northwestern in St Paul last week for Summer Preparation Days which included workshops for both parents and students.  Jamie got to meet with her advisor and register for fall classes.  She's been invited to participate in the Eagle Scholars program which enables her to take special honors classes!  Pretty exciting for mom, nervous-making for the student.  But when she saw the three special classes she could take in the fall she got a little excited too.

A last word about Jamie (maybe):  she got her tattoo yesterday.  Not a sentence I ever thought I would be typing!  She has been thinking about it and working on it for at least a year, possibly two.  It is her own design and the artist did a great job on it.  

Alex had his last two middle school field trips this week:  one with the orchestra to Minneapolis for a Twin's game in the new ballpark!  (too bad they lost)  They left from school in the afternoon and got back about 1 am.  He got up and went to school the next day for a field trip to our regional science center!  He has his last three days as an 8th grader this week - then on to the high school!

We really ramped up the house preparation for my parents' visit and Jamie's open house.  Mostly cleaning.  If you've ever had a graduate, or been to an open house, you know what I'm talking about.  We take a pretty laid-back approach to these things, but I'm sure things are going to get a little intense around here before the week's over.  No, kids, you ain't seen nothing yet!  I'm so glad my parents can come to visit and celebrate - and help!  

The medical updates:  Jamie's wart is Gone, gone, gone.  (yay!)  Now she has a cold!  Nate had two appointments with Dr Dan (our dentist) with one filling.  Mia got her annual shots and heartworm test plus an unexpected cyst aspiration and she's back on steroids for her allergies (the antihistamine didn't seem to be doing anything).  She's much better.  She did get to ride in the truck twice - exciting!  Alex's teeth look awesome and his next appointment is to talk about retainers which means he must be getting near the end of ortho!  Our medical insurance changes the 1st of June.  ugh.  I hate insurance.

Ashlee's summer job is at Fat Straws - we don't have them here, but Ashlee took Jamie to one last summer and she says they have much the most AWESOME tea & smoothies EVER.  The drinks are "bubble drinks" and are served over black Japanese tapioca - which you suck up in the fat straws.  She is taking not one, but TWO, mission trips this summer!  We're still looking forward to having her here in August - possibly even helping move Jamie in at Northwestern.

Our most recent Favorites:
  • The LOST season & series finale - Kathryn came over to watch with us.  We watched a RIDICULOUS amount of Lost last Sunday night.  I'm still trying to figure out what happened.  The Dancing with the Stars season finale - yay, Nichole!!  And all things Glee!
  • Mary Kay Lip Balm (& Lip Mask) - Satin Lips rocks!!  And I probably shouldn't tell you, but we had a fun Even Complexion Mask party last night - so fun.  I just asked if anyone wanted to do a face mask and got two takers - Jamie AND Jeff!  So fun.  (And what a great product!)
  • Triple Layer Chocolate Mousse Torte - oh what a delicious cake recipe from my friend, Toni!  Let me know I should share this yummy one.
  • Jamie's southern sweet tea!  She found a recipe online just to make us miss her all the more this summer.
We have a new preacher (they generally call them pastors in this part of the country) at the church we've been attending on Sunday mornings.  Well, he's new since the end of January - which is almost not new anymore.  He is preaching through the book of Mark - and I mean really preaching through the book of Mark.  A verse at a time.  We broke into Chapter 2 last Sunday -  it was real milestone!  Our whole family likes him and his preaching.  I was especially moved by last Sunday's sermon.  I thought it was really excellent and I heard the stories about the healing of the paraplegic and calling of Levi the tax collector in a whole new way.  I know I'm probably only halfway through my life, but still it amazes me to hear the scriptures speak in a way I haven't heard before.  This sermon about forgiveness is worth a listen.

We're growing and going and wishing you the same.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

wordless wednesday: siblings

Nate, Jamie & Alex
Senior Honor's Orchestra Concert
May 25, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Iron Man 2 Review

So I went to see Iron Man 2 on my birthday and here are my thoughts . . .

First of all, one MUST remember this is a sequel so it always looses something from the first movie in the series. Despite this, I thought Iron Man 2 was a pretty decent thrill ride.

Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow reprized their roles as Tony Stark and Pepper Potts and do a bang up job. Don Cheadle did a good job as Lt. Col James "Rhodey" Rhodes, Mickey Rourke was awesome as Whiplash, and Scarlett Johansson kicked butt as SHIELD agent, Natasha Romanoff. Oh, and did I mention SAMUEL L. JACKSON, as Nick Fury?!?!?

Was it an "original" script? Um, no. It was a definite retooling of the Iron Man script from before. But Robert Downey Jr. owns the role of Tony Stark and there was enough pyrotechnic and special effects scenes to keep most fans of Iron Man WELL entertained.

My only real complaint was that while watching the movie at The Fargo Theater downtown, the film broke part way through and we had to wait about 20 minutes for the repair and restart of the show.

All in all I would give it a four out of five movie reels.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

weekEnd and menu monday

I think I've been behind on blog posts this (last) week since I posted my Wordless Wednesday picture on Thursday and didn't realize it till Friday!!

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!  Last week was good for employment in our family.  Kathryn now has TWO (2) jobs - one at Strategic Fundraising.  She's raising money for the Republican Party which is both funny and hopeful for some members of our family given her usual political tendencies!  ;-)   Ashlee also got a summer job last week - so congratulations to both our girls!

AP Tests are over for the year.  Yay!  Nate had a rainy, rainy day for his AP US History Exam - which was pretty darn grueling.  Tough way to start your AP career.  Jamie sat for three exams this year, which I believe is a new family record.

It was soooo rainy and cool most of last week that by the end of the week we were ecstatic to see sunshine and temps in the 70's - FINALLY!!  Oh, we all have such spring fever now.  I bought plants for the flower bed on Mother's Day more than a week ago now and they're still not in the ground.  We're not officially frost-free until Memorial Day weekend, but most people are ready to chance it now.  Nate pulled all the dandelions out over the weekend so I'm ready to go.  It took Alex awhile to mow the lawn - his "new" electric mower had a hard time with the very long grass.  He could only take a couple passes at a time in the backyard before he had to empty the bag.  I thought we might have to bale it!  

The boys were busy outside over the weekend - they washed Jamie's (very dirty!) car as well.  Nate's waiting for Jamie to leave for camp to take over and clean out the inside of the car.  I think he's afraid she'll be in such shock she won't be able to drive properly.  Nate got some more practice driving Saturday - picking Kathryn & her laundry up for a visit and taking me to the banks for deposits.  He's going to be a good driver.  Alex rode along with us to stop up at Kathryn's to see her new kitty.  "Pumpkin" has beautiful green eyes and just three legs!  He's so cute and cuddly.  If I liked cats, he would be the one.

We celebrated Jeff's birthday yesterday - with a new quiche recipe (Broccoli & Cheddar - below), Iron Man 2 at the Fargo Theatre and a delicious Triple Chocolate cake from Hornbachers.  I would have made him a rhubarb cobbler, but it didn't have any chocolate in it so that just would not do at all.  What was I thinking??!  Look for an Iron Man 2 review from Jeff this week - in short, we all liked it.  It was a good thing Jamie kept asking me to pass the Milkduds though - my Sunday afternoon nap is a hard habit to break!  We got a little intermission in the middle when SOMETHING happened to the projector that had to be straightened out - the theater treated everyone to a soda or popcorn - nice! Be sure to check out Jeff's summer movie preview.  

I think Jeff liked his gifts.  I had my friend, Marty, make this custom puzzle pen for him.  So nice.  It didn't end up really being a surprise as the pen arrived from California sooner than I expected, Jeff accepted the package and I didn't hide my surprise quickly enough!  *snort!*  We also got him a pair of reading glasses that fold up to fit in a case the size of a large lighter.  We gave him these babies before church so he wouldn't have to pick up the large-print version of the bulletin!  hee.

Favorites for the Week:

  • The Real Simple website, and particularly the Real Simple Daily Thought Newsletter delivered by email.  
  • And another daily email, even as I UNsubscribed to MANY in the last week, I love Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac daily email.  You can also click through to listen to the daily radio program (the email is the program transcript).
  • New recipe:  Cheddar & Broccoli Quiche (below) - so light and delicious. We served with fresh fruit and cinnamon toast. And a surprise that 4 of 5 of us liked it.  Jamie & Alex didn't know they liked quiche. Not Nate's favorite thing.  

2 frozen pie crusts
10 eggs (1 t salt)
1 pint whipping cream
1 16oz bag frozen broccoli florets, steamed
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese

Steam broccoli until just tender. Drain. In blender,
blend eggs, salt and cream. Divide broccoli and cheese
in both crusts. Pour half of egg mixture in each crust.
Bake @ 350o for 1 hour or until done.

*notes:  I will probably use fresh broccoli next time - I don't like the amount of stems in most frozen bags.  And I didn't use the full 16 oz.  Also, for our family of 5, I will likely cut this recipe in half and just make one next time.  We did finish all of one, though - so two will be nice for company.  (Do you like quiche, dad??)

On The Menu for this week:  Sour Cream Pork Chops, Mushroom Pot Roast, BBQ Quesadillas, Freschetta Pizza Night & Jeff's Unfried Chicken.
Just a day less than three weeks left in school for this year.  Then graduation for Jamie and summer break for the boys!  Alex picked up his application card to be a pollinator for Pioneer last week and Nate sent his card expressing his intent to return this summer so hopefully everyone will be working for at least part of the vacation.

Our weeks remain full and happy. Wish the same for you.  Write when you can.  We think of you often and wish we could be near everyone we hold dear all the same time this side of heaven!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dancing With The Stars S10 Week 8 Quickcap

DWTS Season 10 is closing in on the finale as Week 8 finished this past week. TWO dances were required from the remaining celebrity contenders and while some were able to step up to the challenge, others not so much.

Nicole and Evan still remain the top of the leader board, performing well and dominating the scores, with Erin closing in on them. Chad Ocho received the red light joining Niecy Nash in the bottom two and at the end of week 8 it was Niecy "Jiggly Parts" Nash who given the tap on the shoulder and asked to leave the dance floor. And yes, it was time.

The stand out performance was Nicole and Derick's 50's style Paso Doble which TOTALLY rocked! The next really nice performance was Erin and Maks' 80's Tango.

My prediction is that it will come down to Nicole, Evan, and hopefully Erin in the final three. I think Chad has gone as far as he can go in this competition and should go next.

Despite his somewhat chilly demeanor and his struggle with several of the Latin dances, I think Evan is a strong contender to win this season's DWTS. The audience LOVES their Olympians, especially the ones who win a GOLD. Honestly? I think Nicole is the better dancer and that Evan platued after week 6 so it should be interesting the next two weeks. Does Nicole "Pussycat Doll" have the fan base to get her the mirror ball trophy? Will Evan "The Iceman" pull off winning the glittery ball? Or will ESPN Erin be the surprise victor? (No, she won't. Third place is her best. Just sayin')

Stay tuned to ABC on Monday and Tuesday nights to see all the dancing drama as it unfolds.

Monday, May 10, 2010

menu monday

Planning for another delicious week - and trying to catch up with our E-Mealz plans a little!

The "Shrimp Creole" recipe was not our favorite thing.  Don't know if it was the dish or just the version, but the entire household was less than thrilled.  (crossing that one off the list)

Jeff's crepes yesterday - especially the chicken ones with cheese sauce?  Highest raves across the board!  My boys had NO idea they would love anything so French, ever.  Mother's Day Deliciousness.  However, Jeff forgot how much work they are so we won't likely see a repeat very soon!

For tonight, I'm making "White Chicken 'n Bacon Chili."  Another brand-spanking new one.  I'll let you know.

Also this week:  "Beef & Potato Hash," "Pepperoni Loaf," and "Cheddar Broccoli Quiche."  Wanna try along with us??

2 frozen pie crusts
10 eggs (1 ts salt)
1 pint whipping cream
1 box broccoli florets, steamed  (I'm thinking fresh!!)
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese

Steam broccoli until just tender.  Drain.  In blender, blend eggs, salt and cream.  Divide broccoli and cheese in both crusts.  Pour half of egg mixture in each crust.  Bake @ 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done.

Because we haven't tried this one before, I'm probably going to cut this one in half and just make one.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Senior Moments

Today is the day! Completing the mailing list and addressing the envelops and finalizing the senior picture for printing.
Of course now she's addressing and I'm blogging and she's wondering what the heck just happened. We shopped for flowers earlier - the open house is my excuse for all the annuals and hanging basket. Can't wait for some mother daughter action in the flower garden!

Nate gave me a lovely rose earlier. (Nobody buys me rose bushes anymore. It's just a lost cause.) Jamie surprised me with the "Cherry Garcia" Ben & Jerry's ice cream in the freezer. Jeff is making crepes - both chicken AND fruit. It's going to be delicious!

Better go before Jamie figures out she's doing all the work!
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Summer Sizzle or Drizzle? The Prequel: May Movie Lineup

I picked up the Summer Movie Preview Issue of Entertainment Weekly the other day to peruse and see what Blockbusters, Sleepers, and Duds would be gracing the silver screens this summer. The following is a quick rundown with comments on some of the upcoming summer film fair for feasting that you may or may not want to check out:

Summer kicks off early with these releases:


Iron Man 2 -
Sure to be a HUGELY attended movie since its the follow-up to the mega popular Iron Man starring Robert Downey, Jr. Previews looked chock full of some great action sequences and FX so it should be worth seeing. Just remember this is an ACTION flick and plot/ storyline is always secondary and not essential for the movie to do well. Sequels have notoriously not been up to the high standards of the original, but can still be good. Besides, Samuel L. Jackson is playing Nick Fury and Mickey Rorke is playing Whiplash so Yeah, Baby!! (Um, did I mention Samuel L. Jackson?)

Robin Hood - Russel Crowe takes on the legendary Sherwood Forest Badboy himself with Cate Blanchett playing Lady Marion. This has the possibility of being a good retelling of the classic tale but will have to do well to win me over as I think Kevin Costner's rendition of the role has thus far been my favorite. Still, Russell Crowe was a gritty gladiator so he could bring some real character to the Hood.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time - Hmm. This film is based on a popular 2003 video game which I never played so whatever. Actually, Jake Gyllenhaal stars as the action hero lead and IF there's a decent storyline then with all the expected FX this fantasy adventure is sure to have this movie could be decent. Only time will tell . . .


MacGruber - Based on a SNL sketch lampooning one of my all time favorite TV shows, MacGyver, this could be really funny or painfully awful. Since I've never seen the SNL sketches this film is based upon I have no opinion except GOOD parody is supposed to be the highest form of flattery so let's hope this one is a very flattering.


Sex and the City 2 - The girls are back! The girls are back in TOWWWN! Well, actually their hitting the road to the Middle East and I'm sure ladies everywhere will support Carrie and company no matter what antics they get into. (And yes, I will be a supportive hubby and take Lori to see it. Sigh. The things we do for love.)

Letters to Juliet - This is SUCH the chick flick. I mean, love letters, set in Italy, reuniting long lost lovers, need I say more? (I REALLY don't think I'll be going with Lori to this one. Either Jamie will go with her or we'll see it on dvd.

Just Wright - Queen Latifah in a romantic comedy. Hey, remember when she used to be a street cred rapper? Yeah, neither do I. Anyway, some plot line about Latifah as a physical therapist having to rehab some hunky sports star blah, blah, blah. Don't see this one doing much to rehabilitate Queen Latifah's ailing movie career any.


Shrek Forever After - Let's see . . . this makes it the what? The FOURTH installment in this series?! Oh grrr. Well, its back to Ever After and though I thought the first one was THE best it could be a fun piece of animated entertainment.


Solitary Man, Mother and Child, Holly Rollers, and Babies are among some of the Off the Center of Blockbuster but some could be surprise hits so don't count them all out.

Be sure to check back for the June Summer Movie Preview Post.